Will Anderson: “We Need to Get Our Stuff Together”
The Crimson Tide escaped 'The Swamp' with a victory, but not without the Alabama defense relinquishing a season-high 29 points to the Florida Gators. Alabama allowed the Gators to total 439 yards offensively, 238 of which came in the rushing game.
For the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week, that wasn't good enough. Sophomore linebacker Will Anderson had seven tackles, two for loss and a quarterback hit. He did his part but knows he and his squad have room for improvement.
"I feel like defensively we haven't played for 60 minutes yet. We haven't played to the Alabama standard, and that's something we're trying to build on each week," Anderson said during Monday's media availability. "Especially coming off this week, this was a real eye-opener that we need to get our stuff together, for real. We need to live up to the Alabama standard, and we need to play to the Alabama standard. We need to go out there and execute and all 11 of us need to be on the same page."
Anderson was quite intense at the podium Monday. Despite a right knee injury, "The Terminator" led his team in some of the key moments of the game. Anderson said his knee "feels great" but still had to give the team all he had in the humid Gainesville environment.
Anderson said his leadership skills have mostly been through his actions, as was the case Saturday. But Anderson isn't keeping the status quo while asking for more from his teammates.
“Honestly, for me, being a leader has kind of been, it has not been challenging, but I'm more of a… I do it through my actions. I'm not really a vocal leader. I just tried to like do things right, show people how it's done you know just to come in and keep my head down, work and I can just show through example of how everything is supposed to be done," Anderson said. "But you know I think now I have to step up and be more vocal and you know, get guys on the same page because I know right from wrong and it's selfish of me not to show the other guys what they're doing wrong, you know, just that part of it so I just need to be more vocal leader.”
Anderson mentioned he would like to see his outside linebacker group become a more cohesive unit that makes "football the most important thing" by watching more film together and being more prepared for each game.
With Anderson having an intention to change up his leadership tactics, he has a vision for what kind of energy he wants to see from his defense moving forward.
“It definitely needs to pick it up," Anderson said. "We definitely need to get back to that Alabama standard, and you know the message all year in our offseason was we're going to be a fast, physical football team. And I think that's what we need to get back to, so I think when everybody looked at their own individual performances and we come together to defense and we sit down and we talk, I think that’ll really help. We're going to keep getting better each week and we're going to just keep getting that message out there that we are a fast, physical football team.”
Alabama's defense made the plays it needed to in order to win the game against the Gators, so the opportunity to reach the Alabama standard is a realistic expectation. The Crimson Tide will see its next opportunity against Southern Miss 6:30 p.m. CST in Bryant-Denny Stadium and will air on the SEC Network.